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Dec 5, 2021

Recommended Read: On Syria’s Ruins, a Drug Empire Flourishes

An excellent investigation from Ben Hubbard and Hwaida Saad on the production of captagon in Syria.

Here’s what I didn't know:

• “Much of the production and distribution” is overseen by Maher al-Assad’s Fourth Armored Division of the Syrian Army.

• Soldiers guard some drug production facilities. Others bear signs declaring them closed military zones.

In support of this view and in reference to the Syrian regime, Joel Rayburn said “It is not like they are looking the other way while drug cartels do their thing. They are the drug cartel.”

Captagon labs are concentrated in: territory controlled by Hezbollah near the Lebanese border; outside the capital, Damascus; and around the port city of Latakia.

• A key player in the production of captagon is Amer Khiti. You can find more about him in my interactive research tool with Ammar.

And my study on Syria's 2020 parliament with Samy Akil.

• Another key player is Khodr Ali Taher, who facilitates the movement of captagon. More about him in our research tool.

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